Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Fav Floor Routines Part Two: Athens 2004-Beijing 2008

The second part of this blog covers floor routines from the 2004 Olympic Games held in Athens to the 2008 Olympic Games held in Beijing. Again, it was so hard to pick these so I hope you enjoy them! Feel free to comment if you feel there are any more worth a mention.

Svetlana Khorkina (RUS) 2004 Olympic Games, AA Final
Svetlana Khorkina (or Sveta) was one of the greats of Russian gymnastics. The Olympic Games in Athens was her third and her swansong, as she battled America's Carly Patterson for the Olympic all-around title. She was a favourite leading into the Sydney Olympics in 2000, but a hugely controversial technical error with the vault height on the first rotation meant that her competition was ruined. Khorkina was a passionate, ferocious and steely competitor, which earned her nicknames such as 'diva' and 'Queen Khorkina'. Her dance flows beautifully and she uses her height to her advantage and accentuates her long lines. Almost effortlessly, she engrosses the audience in her performance. I remember watching this routine as a kid, couldn't take my eyes off her. She showed innovation and originality by using a different end pose for both the individual and team competition.

Queen Khorkina perfoms in the all-around final at the 2004 Olympics in Sydney. She finished a close second to America's Carly Patterson

Cheng Fei (CHI) 2004 Olympic Games Team Final
The young Chinese star was a phenomonal tumbler from the get-go. Her opening pass of a double-twisting double sommersault gets a ridiculous amount of air- still one of the best I have ever seen. As with all Chinese gymnasts, she is incredibly precise with all of her movements. She also gets amazing height on her leaps for someone so small! The huge smile at the end is genuine and excellent to see, she understands the significance of competing in something like the Olympic Games and wants the world to see how proud she is to be there. She goes on to be one of the best floor workers over the next quad, and leads the Chinese team to their first Olympic Team title on home soil in Beijing, 2008.

Cheng competes in the Team Final in Athens, 2004

Alicia Sacramone (USA) 2008 US Olympic Trials, Day Two
American gymnast and 2008 Olympian Alicia Sacramone was another great floor worker of this quad. Her routines were sassy and oozed her personality. Check out her awesome arabian double sommersault. A mature competitor by 2008, you can see the concentration in her eyes as she performs (although she does celebrate with a smile after a stuck tumbling pass!). Alicia was a lock for the Olympic Team, with strong routines to offer on beam, floor and vault. Unfortunately, her Olympic performances were not what she had hoped for. On a side note, Aly Raisman, 2012 Olympic Gold Medalist on floor trained at the same gym (Brestyan's), pretty damn good coaching I say!

Alicia competes in the US Olympic Trials, 2008. This competition would have been more nerve-wracking than the Olympics themselves

Nastia Liukin (USA) 2008 Olympic Games, AA Final
Oh Nastia, where to start? Anastasia Liukin, is about as close to gymnastics royalty as you can get. Her father, Valeri Liukin competed in the Olympics for Russia and her mother, Anna Liukin was a famous rhythmic gymnast (also for Russia). She inherited her father's power and determination and her mother's flexibility and grace. Her floor routines have always been balletic and equisite. She managed to pull everything together to take the all-around title in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. She had the competition of her life, finishing with another one of her marvellous floor routines. Only wish WOGA would stop recycling their poses!

Nastia wins bronze in the floor event final at the 2008 Olympic Games

Yang Yilin (CHI) 2008 Olympic Games, AA Final
China's Yang Yilin took the bronze medal in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games behind silver medalist Shawn Johnson of the USA. A unique choice of music for the young Chinese girl suits her well. The rather tall yet elegant gymnast has very dramatic, yet effective choreography. I felt that her routine helped to intensify the mood during the last rotation of the competition. Yilin was an excellent twister, all of her tumbles were very precise, a joy to watch!

Yang Yilin creates suspense in the final rotation of the Women's AA final in Beijing, 2008

Anna Pavlova (RUS) 2008 Olympic Games, AA Final
Performed to 'Exodus', the routine from the Russian Anna Pavlova has to be one of the most beautiful pieces of gymnastics of all time. Her double straight sommersault is perfect, the dance flows beautifully and shows off her amazing flexibility. She combines power and elegance incredibly well. I remember reading somewhere that she was upset with the music choice and was not sure if she would feel comfortable performing her Olympic routine to it. You cannot tell at all by watching this routine. Unfortunately, Anna always seemed to end up in fourth place and I feel as though she has never really recieved the acknowledgement that she deserves!

Anna Pavlova of Russia performs to 'Exodus' in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games

Stay tunned for part three, which will cover routines from 2009-present!

Fav Floor Routines Part 1- Golden Oldies

Article by Imogen Browne (@ImogenMireille)

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